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Heartbreaking Photos Capture The Sadness As Ukrainians Flee Conflict Zone

Residents of Debaltseve have been forced to evacuate as the front line of the conflict creeps towards their doorstep.

Posted on February 8, 2015, at 1:19 p.m. ET

On Friday, many residents of the eastern Ukrainian city of Debaltseve packed up what belongings they could and fled.

REUTERS/Gleb Garanich

The town has suffered heavy damage in recent weeks, as rebels fire rockets and artillery towards government troop positions.

REUTERS/Maxim Shemetov

Kiev's forces have managed to hold the town, a strategic railway hub to the northeast of Donestk.

REUTERS/Gleb Garanich

Ukrainian servicemen helped residents escape the town on a convoy of buses on Friday during a lull in the fighting.

REUTERS/Gleb Garanich

The temporary truce had the backing of the European Union's foreign policy chief, Federica Mogherini, who had joined those demanding residents be allowed to flee.

REUTERS/Gleb Garanich

Families gathered what they could in bags.

REUTERS/Gleb Garanich

Young children were among those fleeing.

REUTERS/Gleb Garanich

Many people were in tears as they boarded the buses.

REUTERS/Sergey Polezhaka

Others stayed behind while their relatives escaped.

REUTERS/Gleb Garanich

Last weekend, BuzzFeed News reported that residents were fleeing Debaltseve and other nearby towns however they could.

REUTERS/Sergey Polezhaka

“They’re transporting us like cattle, but it’s still better than staying,” one woman told BuzzFeed News foreign correspondent Max Seddon.

REUTERS/Gleb Garanich

“All of our officials ran away as soon as they could, and everyone forgot about us," she said.

REUTERS/Sergey Polezhaka

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